GONE but never forgotten, the victims whose lives were claimed by gunman Derrick Bird will always be remembered.

And although a decade has now passed since the tragedy that unfolded across west Cumbria on June 2, 2010, many people remember what happened like it was yesterday.

The 52-year-old taxi driver killed 12 people - including his twin brother David Bird - and injured 11 others on his 45-mile shooting rampage before turning the gun on himself.

Seascale firefighter David Moore said nothing could have prepared him for the events of that day, seeing his remote village turn into a “war zone”.

His retained crew were called out to reports of a road traffic collision before midday but arrived at the scene to find one of Bird’s victims, Harry Berger, who had been shot twice in his car underneath the railway bridge.

Bird, of Rowrah, had already fired shots at random at a number of people in the areas of Frizington, Whitehaven and Egremont before arriving in Seascale. It sparked a huge manhunt in which Cumbria Police deployed every armed officer in the county.

“It’s just like it was yesterday and I’m sure that is the same for a lot of people on that day,” said David, a retained firefighter of 42 years who served as watch manager for 15 years until he retired.

“The circumstances were unique. It’s not something you’re trained for. We’re trained to deal with people suffering trauma through road traffic accidents and those types of circumstances but nothing trains you for that.

“You feel like you’ve stepped out of reality into another parallel world almost because the things that are happening are so surreal but you deal with them in that professional manner that you’re trained.

“There was no information. All the mobile phone networks were down and, what we didn’t realise at that time, nothing else was coming. By then the emergency services were aware of the situation and that there was a live shooter out there but they didn’t know where he was at that stage. There was nobody actually coming to back us up.”

The crew sealed off the village with a fire engine at either end and took Mr Berger to nearby Shackles Off youth club, where he was treated by a local doctor as they waited for help to arrive. The Great North Air Ambulance then flew him to The Cumberland Infirmary. Thankfully Mr Berger survived but Michael Pike, 64, and Jane Robinson, 66, Bird’s last two victims who were also shot in Seascale, sadly died.

His other victims were family solicitor Kevin Commons, 60, fellow cabbie Darren Rewcastle, 43, Kenneth Fishburn, 71, Susan Hughes, 57, James Jackson, 67, Jennifer Jackson, 68, Isaac Dixon, 65, Jamie Clark, 23, and rugby league player Garry Purdham, 31.

“We were dealing with people we know. I was born in this village. I knew a number of people who were shot in west Cumbria but I knew both the people in the village who died,” David continued.

“You can’t un-see these things. They are always with you. Although we’ve moved on 10 years, you never forget what you saw that day. The events of that day are really very clear in my mind.

“Now is a time when people are reflecting anyway, we’re going through a really strange period, and I think a lot of people might stop and think a little bit more this year.”

The world media descended on west Cumbria but, determined not to be defined by events, communities came together for a series of outdoor services a week after the shootings, which were televised simultaneous, to pay their respects to those who lost their lives and to allow people locally to move back to some sort of normality away from the national spotlight.

A year later there was a celebration of life to mark the first anniversary but since then nothing has been held.

David said: “We agreed to mark it after the first year but we’ve not done anything since. After that first year we just allow people to have their own quiet reflections on it.

“A lot of people will have thoughts [today]. It wasn’t just the families of the victims who were affected, there was an awful lot of people who knew how lucky they were. He drove right through this village. Lots of people were out and about that day. It was a lovely sunny day. A lot of people know that he drove past them. We don’t know why he picked the targets he picked but a lot of people know how lucky they were.”

The Mayor of Millom is among those who have expressed sympathy for the families.

Angela Dixon remembered many in the town being frightened by Bird’s actions nearby.

She said: “I feel for the families of the victims and those who are left behind.”

John Kane was in the middle of Whitehaven that morning where Bird shot taxi driver Darren Rewcastle and five others.

“I got into town and suddenly the shops started getting locked down, they were closing all the doors and were telling everybody to get inside. My wife who was working in the town phoned me up to tell me there was something going on. I went into one of the shops to get locked in in the end.

“It was absolutely unbelievable what was emerging. You just think of the worst and it was the worst.”

Mr Kane, Copeland councillor for Kells ward, said those who were lost will never be forgotten and today will be a very hard day.

He said: “We have a very close-knit community and it affected all parts really. There will be a lot of emotions. A lot of good people tragically lost their lives that day. They will always be in our thoughts.

“We had the national news and international news for the wrong reasons. It was just an absolute tragedy.”